Central Testing Laboratory Ltd.
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May 24, 2018

Mixer Efficiency in Feed samples

The main purpose of measuring mixer performance is to assure that an animal receives all of the feed nutrients with the right proportion on a daily basis. Assessing mixer efficiency is critical, as high or concentrated feed ingredients may be toxic. Getting your mixer samples tested for coefficient of variation (CV) is a regulatory requirement from CFIA.


In order to get the most accurate testing results for mixer efficiency, we recommend to follow these guidelines:

  • Sampling- Sample should represent the feed is distributed to an animal from the mixer. Use a scoop to collect the desired sample volume. Store the sample in a sealed Ziploc bag or in a container. Collect randomly 10 samples of the finished feed.
  • Sample size- Collect 100- 150 grams of each sample of a Ration or Mineral samples. For Total Mixed Rations (TMRs) collect 500 grams of each sample for testing.
  • Frequency- make sure you get mixer efficiency done: within a maximum period of 90 days after the installation of a new or replacement mixer, after a major repair or modification that could impact on the functioning of the mixer, or periodically, but at a minimum once every one to three years depending on the risk profile of the facility

Feeds are considered homogenous when CV for the batch is:

  • no greater than 5% for dilute drug premixes
  • no greater than 10% for micro or macro premixes and supplements
  • no greater than 15% for complete feeds and total mixed rations


Based on your feed ingredients in the feed ration, decide if you need to test for Macro minerals; Ca, P, K, Mg, Na, or for Micro minerals Cu, Fe, Mn, Zn. Our packages are designed this way, so you can choose to test one mineral from a group, or two or more minerals from the same or both groups. We are an accredited laboratory in Mineral analysis.

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Apr 24, 2018

Particle size in Forage and TMR samples

Forage and TMR particle size is an important role in Ration formulation. It measures the quantity (%) of effective Fiber from the feed the dairy cow.

Analyzing the particles the cow consumes can be done on a forage sample, or on a mix of forages. It’s recommended to test TMR to get real value of a fiber level in the ration. Particle size can be effected by the forage’s stage of maturity and its chopped length. Bringing representative sample to a laboratory, properly mixed is essential factor (as this should represent the actual feed is being fed to the animals). There are certain accepted levels for particle size for Corn Silage, Haylage and for TMR.

By testing Forage’s/ Ration’s or TMR’s particle size, you can avoid rumen acidosis, rumen fermentation and digestion problems, or animal’s intake. Therefore, too fine or too long feed particles is not recommended. For a good feed evaluation, get your TMR particle size tested in several locations along the feeding route.

Contact us for details!


Mar 22, 2018

Forage/ Hay Sampler for the most accurate results

Often, we get asked on the best way to obtain a Hay/ Forage sample. A Representative sample is the first step in getting an accurate feed test.

Collecting a representative sample is very important. Some important questions on forage sampling:

  • How large is your sampling lot?
  • What is the depth of your bales?
  • What is the type of the forage?
  • Was it raining or any other weather conditions while bailing?
  • How are the lots divided? By field? By feeding schedule? By other factors that may have affected quality?
  • Do you have a forage probe?

Make sure to follow the steps in sampling:

  • Collect at least 1 core sample from each bale to represent one lot  (15-20 bales).  If the lot is larger select, core every second or third bale.
  • Sample round bales by the round side of the bale, sample square bales at the end of the bale.
  • Collect at least 1000 grams from each lot, keep half of the sample, send the other half for analysis. Try to split it evenly, fines often have high levels of nutrients. There should be at least half a large Ziploc bag sent to the lab.
  • The samples you collect from each bale should not be exposed to air, and should be kept in a properly sealed ziploc bag in a cool & dry conditions.
  • Send the samples, for analysis as close to the date you collected them.
  • On the ziploc bag with the sample write the farmer’s name, type of a forage, lot/ area where sample was collected, date of sampling and any notes for conditions the may affect the results.

At Central Testing Laboratory, we are here to help you for advice or refer you to a Nutritionist.

We have a Forage Probe available for you to use to collect sample for testing. If you are in the area, please come in person, or call us to check the availability.

See you soon!

Jan 10, 2018

Arsenic in Feed & Food

Arsenic (As) is an element found naturally, and is mined from earth’s crust. Arsenic is toxic for humans. Arsenic was found to cause cancer, birth defects, diabetes and heart disease. Therefore, exposure through food and water should be controlled.

Arsenic has been used as a supplement in Swine, Turkeys and Chickens feed, in order to increase weight gain, feed efficiency and improved pigmentation. A compound of Arsenic called Roxarsone which used in antibiotic and anti-parasitic drugs, called Ionophore.

Poultry feed contains Arsenic make a big effect on the soil quality, air, food and water.

Arsenic is used commercially. Pesticides on crops contain Arsenic, wood products treated with Arsenical pesticides. Foods contaminated with high levels of Arsenic, such as; seafood, rice, water, juices, wine and poultry meat. Human consumption of these products with high concentrations of Arsenic is very risky.

Nowadays, many food distributors supply poultry raised without Arsenic, this has been promoted in medical facilities.

One of the methods to detect and quantify Arsenic is by Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS). This is an accurate method that will be used in Central Testing Laboratory to measure Arsenic. Follow us to find on our new testing.

Dec 22, 2017

Selenium in Animal Feed

Selenium (Se) is an important antioxidant mineral in animal feed, and is known to contribute to the reproduction system. In many cases, Selenium is deficient in animal feed. Testing feed for Selenium and making balanced supplementation is required.

Selenium deficiency can cause animal’s weakness, heart failure, abortions and even death are correlated with Selenium deficiency. When animals consume more Selenium than needed , it causes toxic reactions (the window between deficiencies and excess is very narrow). Selenium concentrations should be often checked in Cattle, Sheep, Goats , Horses, Swine and Poultry. Cattle, Swine and poultry should consume 0.3 – 3.0 ppm (mg per Kg) head/day, Sheep and Goats should consume up to 1ppm and Horses sufficient feed can have  0.1 ppm Se per head per day.

Injections are commonly used in Livestock to supplement Se. Others, make Salt-Mineral supplement mixes, or Feed supplemented with Se to increase frequent intake. Another common way is Se fertilizer to increase Se concentration in Forage- an organic source of Se.

High concentrations of Selenium in Canadian soils are found in Southern Prairies and Ontario. Selenium is naturally produced in Mining regions.

Selenium is an essential nutrient and is used in commercial food. Selenium content in food results of the soil where crops are produced and animals are raised. High level of Se is found in Brazil nuts, fresh fish and Shellfish, various Bread types, Grain and Cereals.

Selenium can be measured by many techniques. ICP (Inductively Coupled Plasma)  is one of the most commonly used. Solid or liquid samples can be analyzed. It is highly sensitive and can determine concentrations of trace to major elements. Selenium testing will be available in Central Testing Laboratory Ltd soon.



Oct 18, 2017

Moisture levels in Hay Bales

Moisture is one of the most important factors in Hay spoilage and loss. The average moisture level in Hay is 15-20%.

Higher moisture levels cause heating or even fires in the bales. In wet hay, Compounds of insoluble Nitrogen are formed and Protein becomes unavailable to animals. Hay losses its quality, TDN (total digestible nutrients) decreases and loss of DM (dry matter).  To know the available Protein, producers can ask for ADIN (Acid Detergent Insoluble Nitrogen).  To determine ADIN, we must first test the ADF (acid detergent fiber) then use the residue and test the crude protein.  The report will show the available protein.  This is an important test, as Protein is often the first limiting nutrient, Heated feed can easily only have only 50% of the protein available to the animal.  So that great deal you got on heated feed, might not be that great.

Increased moisture also creates Mold formation. Spores of Mold (Asperigillus and Fusarium are commonly found) can lead to Mycotoxin development. Feeding animals with high levels of mold and mycotoxin can result in serious respiratory and health problems.  As a general rule, feed forages with less than 10,000 cfu/gr of mold, any higher should be done with extreme caution.  Every herd and breed can differ, some are more sensitive than others.  Also the type of mold is also very important to know.  Aspergillus and Mucor are types of mold that has shown to cause problems in pregnant cows.  Mold growth in hay can start to happen at 15% moisture.  Temperature can also play a role of how fast mold in wet hay can accumulate.   It is important to note that a mold test is a snap shot in time, and that it can easily change over time if the bail stays wet.

Low moisture in hay makes leaves fall off and loosing nutritional values.

The shape of the bale, its size and density (small square bales, large square bales and round hay bales), equipment used, storage conditions, climate and type of the hay are all important factors. These factors will  effect on Moisture levels in Hay bales.

Moisture can be determined by drying oven, or by NIR which has proven to be quite accurate and reliable.   Moisture for all forages at CTL goes through a 3 step process, first the sample gets dried at low heat overnight(moisture received), then it gets ground, then the ground sample gets analysed for a final moisture count either by oven or NIR (moisture analyzed).

Moisture content is very important in Hay Bales. It should be checked & controlled before harvesting, while harvesting and after the hay is baled!  This will ensure ultimate quality for your livestock.


Sep 19, 2017

Nitrates in Forages

High levels of Nitrate in Forages is known as causing toxicity problems to livestock. Different animals react differently to Nitrate concentrations.

Many factors effect on Nitrates level in plants; Nitrogen Fertilizer makes Nitrate available to plant by the soil, When plant is stressed by the weather (hot dry winds, hail, frost, cool & cloudy). When moisture gets higher in the bales, it causes Nitrates to be converted to Nitrites (which are ten times more toxic than Nitrates). Herbicides and plant diseases can cause high Nitrate levels as well.

We report Nitrate levels, at Central Testing Lab. Ltd. 0.0 to 1.0 (% of Nitrate in Forage):

Forage with less than 0.5- Safe level

Forage with 0.5-1.0- Caution (reduction in weight gain, lower milk production and other physical signs)
Forage with 1.0- Toxic level, high Nitrate feed (death occurs, abortions)

Almost all forages contain Nitrates. Knowing the Nitrates level and making balanced rations will reduce your potential problems in livestock operation.

We can help you with Nitrate Testing!

July 18, 2017

NDF & ADF in Nutrition

The levels of NDF & ADF are critical due to its impact on animals’ digestion, energy levels, performance and productivity.

NDF- Neutral Detergent Fibre – it is the structural component of the plant, therefore predicts intake. NDF values increase as the Forage matures. The higher NDF, less forage can be consumed by animals. You would want to choose forages with lower NDF. However, too low NDF level might cause stomach upsets.

ADF- Acid Detergent Fibre – The least digestible plant components by livestock. The lower ADF levels, the higher digestible energy.

Knowing forage quality will bring success to your Agricultural business!

June 14, 2017

Water Testing

The market is HOT right now for Buying / Selling homes!

When considering buying a house in rural areas, you’ll find that all wells and water systems are different. A water test is required for bacteria and water quality for Minerals & hardness is also recommended.

Once you’ve purchased your home, it’s important to perform regular testing on your well water. Seasonal or annual testing is a good idea.

We can walk you through the process by providing you the containers, instructions on collecting water sample and we have variety of packages to choose from.

May 4, 2017

Compost/ Manure Testing

Compost can be used as natural fertilizer for plant nutrient needs. It’s common for farmers to use manure as part of their compost.

There are two things to consider when applying application on Agriculture fields: Testing the compost, the manure or the combination of both, as well as testing the soil after was applied with application.

We’ve created packages that  provide you with the important elements to look for in a compost / manure sample.